SA

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This was the second UAF 200 conducted in SA. We only had a small turnout – 4 starters: Andrew Kennedy, Lloyd Sampson, Graham Stucley and myself. A bit disappointing as it seems those who consider themselves quick riders find the UAF format too slow, and the slow riders find it too fast. The aim of the ride is to finish the 200 inside the Audax limit of 13 hours 20, but not significantly inside. The plan was to have a riding average of 22.5 kmh with substantial stops, and complete in 11h 45. A 7 am start at the 24hr bakery on O’Connell and finish almost 12 hours later at the same spot.

 

The day started well with a hot coffee at the bakery and nice bun. We left on 7 but the Garmin decided that it couldn’t find me, even though I knew where I was. We had a few roadside stops to let it search but it only came good an hour later on top of O’Halloran Hill.

 

We had a very comfortable run down Marion Road to the Veloway. I needed Graham’s help to navigate what is left of the Veloway around the Southern Expressway duplication before emerging at the other end on the rail trail into McLaren Vale. Always a highlight whether you’re only riding to McLaren Vale or it’s the start of a long day.

 

Coffee break at Koffee’n’Snax, taking our allotted 45 minutes. Thought we would be sitting around doing nothing waiting for the clock, but the time went very quickly. Mount the bikes, and Graham has puncture #1 at the coffee shop. 15 minutes spent repairing then back onto the rail trail for the last 6ks to Willunga.

 

Rather than watch the fast guys disappear up the hill, we had a time trial in reverse up Willunga Hill. I predicted a time for myself, Andrew had 6 minutes head start and Graham & Lloyd were to start 5 minutes behind me. This great idea had us all finish together at the top. Unfortunately as Andrew departed Willunga for the climb up old Willunga Hill, Graham had flat #2. While he and Lloyd attended, I ducked into the bakery for an iced coffee. I left Willunga at 6 minutes, the others followed. I stuck with my tempo, finished the climb in 18 minutes. Graham and Andrew sailed past me halfway up and I never saw Andrew. When we regrouped at the top we were about 30 minutes behind plan, but since the plan had 1.5 hours to spare then no problem to still keep rolling at 22.5.

 

The unplanned stops for tyres meant we could speed up on the gentle grades to Myponga via Pages Flat Road and Yankalilla. Crazy drivers into Myponga and I am left wondering about escape plans when Hyundai drivers run out of talent. Smell of brakes burning from the milk truck overtaking on a hill only to (nearly) run over another car sitting in the middle of the road following Graham and Lloyd.

 

Arrived at Normanville about 12pm (=91km in 5 hours). Hotel was almost empty save the three outside tables in the sun. Pity but we found a spot inside. In answer to the question “how long is lunch break on a UAF ride” I reply “1 bottle of red”. It is that sort of day – take it easy. In the end no red, just a pint of beer. Lloyd has his first Stout for the day and the others rehydrate as necessary. Independently all of us selected the King George Whiting off the menu – an inspired choice – the best fish I have had for a long while, fresh from KI. Enough room left for a pint of beer and some almond ice cream. 1 hour 15 passed fairly quickly and we departed about 1.30pm.

 

Carrickalinga Hill waits. Ten+ percent but stop for some photos halfway up. Lloyd missed the turn in to the lookout and kept going find a kitchen seat under a tree until we arrived. Across the spectacular Myponga reservoir wall and a quick rest at the lookout above it. Superb views over valley behind Myponga, the Southern Vales and also Mount Lofty some 60km to the North. This is the longest leg of the day, 58km from Normanville to Meadows. Once we hit South Road, we group together with the hills mostly behind us and finish off at Meadows, 149km. It is just after 4pm. Drinks at the Mini-Mart then cross the road to the Hotel for water and the important pint of stout. The idea of a 200k pub crawl was discussed.

 

The return leg had a few diversions to make up the distance to 200k. We had just under 4 hours to do the last 50k so no doubts about finishing in time, or that we would be finishing after sunset. After a nice run out towards Jupiter Creek we rolled up Aldgate Valley drive. Not quite dark yet, but fading light about 6pm. We were past by, then followed an ambulance around Piccadilly Valley that was looking slightly lost, then past the botanic gardens before the 1km dirt climb up the back of Greenhill Road. It was dark now, and even with only four sets of lights, quite neat seeing a trail of white lights behind on the hairpins through the trees and dust.

 

Finally the run down Greenhill Road, spectacular after a very pink sky sunset and Adelaides lights sparkling. Slowed to a stop in a few spaces to admire and to think “how lucky are we to be doing this?” Lloyd’s lights weren’t quite as strong as the others and while I tried to keep him a respectful distance behind he eventually dropped back and took it easy through the darker sections. An easy run down Kensington Road with stops at every red light and we arrived back at North Adelaide at 7.10pm, finishing just over 12 hours.

 

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Pie floaters for nearly all (three of us) and a perfect day is over. Weather was ideal, mid-high twenties, breeze was light and generally helpful, and at the end of it all I could only think – what does it matter if only four of us do this, I think we’ll go around again next year!

 

In the end we averaged rolling 22.5kmh for the day. The 25 minutes we finished behind the target matched exactly what we lost through the two punctures.

 

The cue/pace sheet for this ride can be found here.

 

We have a UAF300 next month. This targets completion in 18 hours (of maximum available 20) or 7am start and 1am finish. There won’t be as many hills north to Clare, but we will take some in on the return into Adelaide. Lunch at Clare, dinner in Tanunda. And the snake has a sting in the tail…

 

 

RICHARD SCHEER